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Why customers shouldn’t be number one

It’s a common saying among organisations that the customer is always number one. Others emphasise the point by saying that the customer should be number one, two and three! Many believe and act as though, of all their stakeholders, the customer is the most important to the organisation’s profitability, growth and ultimate success.

We challenge this assertion and say that if an organisation’s customers are so important, they should treat their employees as number one. To have truly satisfied, engaged and loyal customers that will lead to profit and growth, organisations must have satisfied, engaged and loyal employees. In the current low growth global environment, organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve their financial goals. Not many organisations are succeeding in driving both revenue and profit growth successfully.

Our recent research The 5 people drivers of the profitable growth cycle™ focuses on how organisations can achieve profitable growth through their people, even in these difficult and challenging times.

The fundamentals of customer loyalty

The Profitable Growth Cycle is a framework for understanding the inter-relationships between employee engagement, customer engagement, and productivity and innovation, and how these factors can be leveraged to drive profitable growth. High growth organisations understand that achieving profitable growth starts with investing in their employees. Employees are vital in creating and delivering value to customers. Their level of empowerment, alignment and engagement will directly influence the extent of engagement, loyalty and advocacy of their customers.

Understand your employee perceptions

Employee surveys such as our Alignment and Engagement Survey can help organisations understand their levels of staff alignment and engagement which are proven levers of sustainable high performance. Aligned staff know and understand the strategic plan, and how each of their individual roles contribute towards the organisation achieving its goals. Engaged staff are proud to work for their organisation and recommend it to others as a good place to work. A measurement tool like the Alignment and Engagement Survey can help leaders understand whether their organisation is capable of meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

Use customer experience to shape change

A framework such as the one that underpins our Customer Satisfaction Survey measures a customer’s entire journey from customer perception to overall satisfaction to emotional engagement and finally to future buying behaviour and advocacy. One of the best ways to determine the changes in employee behaviours that are most likely to impact customer loyalty, is to conduct both an employee survey and customer survey. Survey items that are included in both surveys will reveal the gaps between employees’ and customers’ perceptions.

Making the Profitable Growth Cycle work for your organisation

Our paper details six steps to apply the Profitable Growth Cycle to your organisation and in particular, how to apply key metrics to each driver that will act as lead indicators of revenue and profitability. A well balanced set of metrics, such as an Alignment and Engagement Survey and Customer Satisfaction Survey as mentioned above, will also guide you in how to best invest your time, energy and money to continue building a robust and resilient Profitable Growth Cycle.

You should:

  1. Trust the process
  2. Invest in your employees
  3. Revisit your strategy
  4. Prioritise productivity and innovation
  5. Build deep customer relationships
  6. Measure employee and customer engagement, then act.

Click here to read the full paper The 5 people drivers of the profitable growth cycle.

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